The Woodward News

Local News

December 11, 2013

Health care advantages, challenges discussed

(Continued)

Woodward, Okla. — HEALTH CARE ADVANTAGES

Some of the positive forces and health advantages discussed included:

• access to mid-level health care providers, such as physician assistants, as well as access to certain specialists, including cardiologists, orthopedists, a neurosurgeon, dialysis providers, and an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) through Woodward Regional Hospital and the Woodward Clinics;

• improvements to outdoor areas to encourage exercise, including new ballparks and other facilities at Crystal Beach Park over the past few years, as well as planned extension to the walking trail in coming years;

• good collaboration between local agencies and even amongst community members in general, such as with benefit dinners organized to help certain individuals or families with health care expenses;

• increased support for public health initiatives and policy changes such as school campuses becoming tobacco-free; and

• the current strong economy bolstered by the energy industry, which is pumping more money into city coffers and thus helping to pay for better equipment and facilities, such as the new central fire station in Woodward, construction on which is set to begin next year.

AREA HEALTH CARE CHALLENGES

Some of the negative forces of change, or health care challenges, included:

• language barriers between health care providers and non-English speaking patients;

• the current doctor shortage as well as issues with recruiting and retaining doctors in such a rural area;

• higher cost of living, for housing and daily expenses, as well as for health care;

• an aging population, especially as many older citizens now face the demands of extended careers because they need the extra income to cover higher expenses or in some cases extended child-rearing responsibilities with grandparents having to raise grandkids;

• lack of certain health care resources, such as limited bed space in mental health or substance abuse facilities;

• difficulty in accessing mental health services, including everything from parents not bringing their children to counseling to lack of adult services in areas of marriage counseling, parenting assistance, anger management;

• environmental factors such as the impact of the ongoing drought and concerns over the impact of fracking on water supplies;

• increased criminal activity, whether drug and/or alcohol related or issues related to child sexual abuse and human trafficking; and

• the move to a more digital society, which can impede access to certain resources if a person doesn't have or know how to use a computer.

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